What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?
Platelet-derived growth factors are biologically active substances that encourage tissue repair. After platelets are activated at an injury or wound site, the release of these substances influence all of the aspects of the healing cascade.
PRP prolotherapy is an injection of concentrated platelets, which are activated and release an assortment of growth factors and other cytokines that stimulate healing of tissues, including ligaments and tendons. Specifically, PRP enhances the fibroblastic events involved in tissue healing including chemotaxis, cellular proliferation, proteosynthesis, extracellular matrix deposition and the remodeling of tissues. These processes lead to restored blood flow, new cell growth, and tissue regeneration. Basically, PRP can help initiate and speed up the healing process to support tissue healing.
The growth factors and other cytokines present in PRP include:
• Platelet-derived growth factor
• Transforming growth factor beta
• Fibroblast growth factor
• Insulin-like growth factor 1
• Insulin-like growth factor 2
• Vascular endothelial growth factor
• Epidermal growth factor
• Interleukin 8
• Keratinocyte growth factor
• Connective tissue growth factor
How is PRP Prepared?
A sample of blood will be taken from a vein in your arm under sterile conditions. The blood will be placed in a centrifuge, which is a device that spins the blood. This helps to separate the blood cells from plasma and allows concentration of the platelets. This process increases the concentration of platelets, which have the healing growth factors. The preparation takes about 30 minutes. The finished PRP product is then available for injection into the affected joint or tendon.
How is PRP Used?
The injections are used similarly to prolotherapy with dextrose, but I reserve them for patients that do not respond to dextrose prolotherapy as expected. There are also a number of conditions that need the extra benefit of the additional immunological factors that platelet-rich plasma has.
Read more about PRP here: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/platelet-rich-plasma-prp/